Texas is well known for its cowboys. These tough men were out on the range driving cattle and building an industry that Texas is still well known for. Since cowboys were nomadic in nature, they needed a snack that preserved well that was easy to carry with them. With easy access to beef, jerky was the perfect snack to make!
I'll usually visit meat shops on a one off basis and get jerky. Every once and a while, I'll even drive 100+ miles to get jerky. Prior to this particular trip, I had stopped by Robertson's in Salado and got some jerky. After I had posted it on Facebook, Steve from L & R Meat Market in Belton had reached out to me and suggested I visit his meat shop.
I put L & R Meat Market on my list of places to visit and thought I'd visit sometime in the future. Then I saw this post on Facebook!
I didn't know it was National Jerky Month! That weekend, Victoria was planning to go to a bachelorette party so I was going to sit at home by myself. What fun is that? Instantly I thought it was the perfect time to take a road trip! Central Texas has a lot of great meat shops. I could hit up each of those meat shops and get some jerky. This would be like the trip I took to Thunder Bay, Ontario solely to try their version of the beef stick, the pepperette.
I thought about my list and scratched together a sort of itinerary. I'd start at Wag-A-Bag in Round Rock and make a little loop around Central Texas. I'd then head over to Belton and go to L & R Meat Market.
I've been to Green's Sausage House in the past. Avery Green reached out to me last year about Green's and I found their food to be great. She commented on the Robertson's blog entry that they make jerky and I should give it a try. Green's didn't let me down the first time and Victoria and I have been talking ever since to get back there, so of course they'd be part of this road trip itinerary.
After Green's, would be Thorndale Meat Market. This is a place Victoria and I always pass on US-79 going to Bryan and want to stop, but we haven't. To complete the circle back to Austin, I found the Taylor Meat Market would be a good place to stop. I'd then conclude my trip at Wag-A-Bag.
I mapped it out and it looked something like this.
Seeing this whole trip was only about two-and-a-half hours of driving, I could easily do it in a Saturday morning. The plan was to get up early and hit the road. Now I was thinking, I'm leaving Austin out of the fun. I mean I do live in Austin. I searched around for meat shops that sold jerky. I actually had to make a few phone calls, but I found Hudson Meats had jerky.
My current job allows me to work from home and I got to kind of set my own hours. I have pushed the brunt of my hours at the beginning of the week for the sole purpose of being able to take road trips come Friday. I only work four hours on Friday and am done by 1PM.
After getting done with work I fought Austin traffic to South Congress. This is one of those “trendy” areas where a lot of people refer to it as “SoCo.”
At one time, South Congress wasn't trendy at all. It was very seedy and a place that you didn't want to go after dark (or even at all). With that, Hudson Meats has stood the test of time and holds true to its roots since 1969.
This visit netted me a wide variety of jerky. I got everything from beef to turkey to ostrich!
Victoria was already gone for the bachelorette party so that jerky was my supper. I eventually went to bed and woke up around 7 or so and hit the road. My first stop was Wag-A-Bag.
I went inside and lo-and-behold was a stand with jerky that looked just like the picture on Facebook!
I grabbed that and an energy drink. I had jerky for dinner so why not have it for breakfast? I got in the car and started eating the jerky along the way.
The Willie Joe's Jerky had a nice pepper and smoke taste to it. It was tough and you worked a bit to rip it with your teeth like good jerky should be.
My next destination was Belton. I was flying down the interstate and it was a bit windy out.
I was soon at L & R Meat Market in Belton!
This stop netted me some beef and pork jerky (you can read my review here).
I was on the road to Green's. This meant going through Temple and getting off the interstate.
Just because I was off the interstate, didn't mean I couldn't go interstate speeds (Remember this is Texas)…
...Until some person thought it would be appropriate to do 15 under the speed limit and I couldn't pass them.
Luckily Green's wasn't too far away and I got there fast enough. My next challenge was finding a parking spot!
It was literally 9:15am and the place was Grand Central Station! I had to circle around the parking lot to find a spot. I guess that's a testament to how good they are!
I know Green's had updated their dining room and I intended to take a bunch of new pictures and write another blog entry with the updated the pictures. It was so crowded that I didn't want to get in anyone's way. I got my jerky and some green salsa for Victoria and got out of the way.
I didn't want to monopolize the parking spot for too long so I quickly opened up the jerky and gave it a try.
The jerky was thick cut and had a medium smoke flavor to it. The black pepper gave it a nice bite and it was a bit chewy. I continued eating it as I drove down the road. Now here's the fun part. I was now headed to Thorndale and I was going to see some real back roads.
I first turned down a farm-to-market road.
I then decided to really go into the boonies and turn down a county road. I wasn't disappointed with with the scenery and what I found!
I got back on a paved farm-to-market road and soon Thorndale was close.
I finally made it to Thorndale Meat Market at about 10:00am, not too long after they opened.
My timing was perfect, because I got to talk to Trey, the owner. He loaded me up with a bunch of stuff to try (you can read the review here).
I always love when I run into the owners of these small businesses and it was great talking to Trey. After our conversation, I hit the road for Taylor.
I soon arrived at the last meat shop I planned to visit that day, Taylor Meat Market.
Their jerky was such in demand that they were out. I got some jalepeno dried sausage and red hot dogs instead (you can read the review here).
I had visited all the places on my list and it was even before noon! Time to finish up at Wag-A-Bag with some gas and a car wash.
This trip was a lot of fun and I did it in a Saturday morning. I came home and was stuffed from the sheer amount of protein I had consumed. I'm happy I was able to visit all the places on my list and now I know where I can get some good jerky!
If you want to read about the individual places I visited click the following links or map below.